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NEWS

MITIGATING AGAINST A TOUGH FISCAL ENVIRONMENT IN THE WAKE OF INTEREST RATE HIKE

Western Cape Government | 29 May 2023


On Thursday, the Reserve Bank unanimously agreed to a 50 basis points increment in the Repo Rate to 8.25%. This translates to a new prime lending rate of 11.75% for our citizens.

Faced with this tough economic climate, coupled with unemployment challenges citizens and youth are left with significantly reduced resources to fend for themselves. It is only natural that many will look to the government for solutions. While this is an issue affecting all South Africans, public and private sectors, as a government it also rests on us to step forward and provide mitigating solutions where we are able to.


It is against this background that the Western Cape Department of Infrastructure, through our various branches, seeks to provide work opportunities and income support to indigent households. Through the delivery of public community assets and services.

The interest rate hike is a painful, but necessary move by the central bank to slow down the alarmingly high inflation rate. With this in mind, as the Western Cape Government, we are continuously looking at innovative ways to assist our citizens to cushion the severity of the economic hardships that they are facing.


Below are just a few ways we aim to support our citizens during this time of significant economic stress:


1. Affordable housing interventions


We are currently lobbying the national government to increase the maximum on the qualifying combined household earnings to R27 000. Currently, the affordable housing qualifying criteria is only reserved for those citizens that earn a combined monthly income of R 3501 up to R22 000. By lobbying for this increase in the salary bandwidth, we will achieve better inclusivity for citizen-focused professionals which include, but are not limited to healthcare workers, educators and retail workers.


2. Youth Training and employment interventions


In our Apprenticeship programme, we have 18 Boiler-maker learners who are in their 2nd year of a 3-year training programme. The 25 Electrical and 25 Plumbing learners are in their first year of the 3-year training programme. In this programme the apprentices receive an overall stipend of R5000 per month.

Applications for the National Youth Service(NYS) programme will open on 1 June 2023. In addition to the R2000 stipend, there is an allowance of R2000 for accommodation and/or transport. The Youth in Built Environment Programme we will look to improve upon the 274 young persons already trained in the 2022/23 fiscal year.


3. Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme (MiS)


In partnership with Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), namely, Stellenbosch University (SU), the University of Cape Town (UCT), and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), the programme offers bursaries for full-time studies towards a degree or diploma in the transport, engineering, and infrastructure environment disciplines.


4. Contractor Development Programme


Our Construction Information Sessions which are open-day interventions equip emerging contractors with knowledge on the compliance requirements for tendering for government construction and maintenance opportunities.


The Structured Training is an accredited classroom training programme targeting CIDB grade 2CE/GB registered contractors (an exception for CIDB 1CE/GB contractors who have been in business for longer than 2 years). The training is for 8 weeks. In addition, our Mentoring programme which is an intervention targeting Grade 3 to 5 CIDB registered contractors. This includes a four-week accredited classroom training and 16-month mentoring programme.


As a forward-thinking government, our efforts are geared towards creating an enabling environment for the infrastructure sectors in order to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.


Provincial Minister of Infrastructure, Minister Tertuis Simmers


‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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